By Rhys Griffiths
The start of the World Cup is just days away and as the competition has drawn closer we have been taking a look at each of the eight groups. Today we look at Group G, which some have labelled the tournament's 'Group of Death'.
German football has been widely feted in recent years thanks to the re-emergence of Bayern Munich as a continental force and the marriage of flair and graft that has successfully established the national side as a favourite going into this summer's tournament in Brazil. Die Mannschaft - three-times world champions as West Germany - will be built upon the twin rocks of Real Madrid's Sami Khedira and Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield, with boss Joachim Low then choosing from a wealth of attacking options ahead of them.
In Cristiano Ronaldo the Portuguese possess one of the finest footballers of all time and a weapon with the potency to fire them towards the latter stages of the tournament. But the danger - particularly in a tight group - is that opponents manage to shackle the supremely-gifted Real Madrid man and Paulo Bento's squad are unable to find the class to make up for any less-than-stellar performances from Ronaldo. Key figures in the supporting cast around the all-important number seven include his Madrid colleague Pepe and Joao Moutinho of Monaco.
Cruelly denied a place in the semi-finals in South Africa last time round when Luis Suarez handled on the line to deny a clear goal, the Black Stars would have been looking to Brazil as a chance to bury the memory of the heartbreaking shootout defeat that followed that night. But a tough group means James Kwesi Appiah's side can not take progress towards the latter stages for granted despite a squad containing plenty of quality in the likes of AC Milan midfielder Michael Essien and former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan.
Jurgen Klinsmann's controversial decision to omit Landon Donovan from the United States squad and deny the 32-year-old the chance to play at his fourth World Cup has been the major storyline ahead of the tournament, but the German has insisted a number of his younger players are ready to make the step up in Brazil. With Donovan passed over, even greater responsibility for leadership will fall on the shoulders of veteran captain Clint Dempsey.
Group G Fixtures (all times UK)
June 16th, 17:00: Germany v Portugal - Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
June 16th, 23:00: Ghana v United States - Arena das Dunas, Natal
June 21st, 20:00: Germany v Ghana - Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza
June 22nd, 23:00: United States v Portugal - Arena Amazonia, Manaus
June 26th, 17:00: United States v Germany - Arena Pernambuco, Recife
June 26th, 17:00: Portugal v Ghana - Estadio Nacional, Brasilia